Bright working to meet energy goals | Local News

As the nation’s energy policy shifts, Rochester and Destination Medical Center recently strengthened efforts aimed at efficiency.

Kevin Bright has joined the DMC Economic Development Agency staff to oversee efforts to reach energy goals defined in the DMC plan.

The recent hire of a sustainability coordinator is funded by a two-year McKnight Foundation grant, as well as city funding. As a result, Bright works for both the EDA and the city, spending about 80 percent of his time working on DMC goals supported by the grant.

Lisa Clarke, executive director of the DMC EDA, said the unique collaboration offers an exciting model that she hopes will prove worthwhile and provide resources that last beyond the grant funding.

In August, a pair of graduate students working the the Environmental Defense Fund’s Climate Corps recommended the city hire its own full-time sustainability coordinator, saying the position could eventually be funded through cost savings and potential grant writing.

The Rochester City Council, however, was hesitant about adding the new staff member amid other needs. The collaborative effort was the result with the council agreeing to commit approximately $25,000 for salary and benefit expenses.

“It’s like putting your toe in the water,” Clarke said.

Bright said he collaborative effort provides a chance to build on existing goals, which include ensuring new development meets DMC’s energy efficiency goals and finding public infrastructure improvements anticipated in the city’s energy plan.

He said the first steps are reviewing the goals and plans, defining the most immediate objectives and setting a course with EDA and city staff. As a result, he’s been spending his first weeks reviewing existing documentation and getting to know the people involved.

Several of those people have said they are impressed and see promise in…

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